Race Previews

Brand Loyalty...

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GRANITEMAN CLEARWATER - This race will celebrate its 15th birthday tomorrow, the last nine of which have been staged at scenic Warner Lake in Clearwater. A glance at the registration list tells us that "Brand Loyalty" is definitely part of the Graniteman deal, as many of those who have raced here in 2017 and before, are returning. We have to admit that we are more prepared to talk about Clearwater's Olympic-plus (28.66 mile bike) race than the sprint, the overall and AG results of which we think will be comprised largely of later registrants, i.e. those who have enrolled since last week, when the list was sent to us. We will predict that Alexandria's buff BRIAN STORHAUG will battle for a top spot. Heck, he could win it, like he did in '17. That was his first career mulisport victory. Pretty cool!

 

So, let's chat about the longer race. We're prepared to predict the winners right now. They are 2017 champ / women's course record holder KORTNEY HAAG, and 2017 G-Man Big Lake Sprint winner, JOSH MORK, assuming of course, he has chosen the longer race. Mork appears to be one of the 2018 Most Improved frontrunners right now, his resume and career trajectory telling us that he will win whichever Clearwater race he chooses...

Heart of the Lakes XXXIII Preview...

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HEART OF THE LAKES XXXIII PREVIEW - Who are the Big Guns who will be towing the starting line of this year's State Championship triathlon, and its Sprint course companion next Sunday? Here, in alpha order, is our breakdown of the talent, not all of it, mind you, but those who we think will battle for podium spots: 

 

JOSH BLANKENHEIM (Duluth) - 2nd in 2017 & 2015 (PR - 1:33:05)

SEAN COOLEY (St. Paul) - 1st in 2017, 2nd in 2016 (PR - 1:31:05)

SAMUEL HAUCK (Rochester) - 2nd in 2008, 3rd in 2009 (PR - 1:27:59)

KEVIN O'CONNOR (Medina) - 2nd in 2010 & 2009, 3rd in 2015 (PR - 1:28:17)

MATTHEW PAYNE (Golden Valley) - 1st in 2016 & 2015, 1st amateur (2nd overall) in 2014 (PR - 1:30:16) ...

Epic Match-Ups...

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MINNEAPOLIS TRIATHLON - The 17th edition of this iconic event will take place at Lake Nokomis next Saturday, and we are anticipating some epic battles at the front. When "Hooty" --Mpls Tri director Scott Hutmacher--sent us a list of the 24-member Premier Division, four names leapt off the page: SEAN COOLEY, KEEGHAN HURLEY, GABY BUNTEN and HANNA GRINAKER. We would be flabbergasted if these athletes did not take the gold and silver medals for their respective genders next weekend.

Who do we think will win? And why?

Let's start with the women.

GABY BUNTEN - The defending women's champ at Minneapolis, Gaby has established herself in the last two seasons as one of the US's premier amatuer female Olympic distance athletes. Thus far in 2018, she has raced in three Olympic-distance contests, winning two of them and placing 2nd  in the other. She had faced Hanna twice previously, beating her at Minneapolis last year, but finishing a place behind her at Minneapolis in 2016. Gaby was named Minnesota Triathlete of the Year in 2017. Grinaker won that award in 2016. It's possible that the winner of this epic match-up will go on to claim the 2018 TOY.

HANNA GRINAKER - Hanna's first Olympic effort, her 2nd multi start ever, produced a 2:10 (Buffalo 2016). That's insane. Her 1:30:00 at Waconia was mind-blowingly fast, demonstrating pro-level sprint speed. And her recent effort at Liberty Half, which was abbreviated to a 63.4 (2K-56 miles -10K) showed her long course chops. Her time--3:40:34--suggested sub-4:30 speed at 70.3...

Timberman XXXIV Preview II....

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TIMBERMAN OLYMPIC PREVIEW - Yesterday we previewed next Saturday's T-Man Sprint race. Today we are analyzing the Olympic-ish competition. 

Based on the last registration report we saw, here are the four guys, in alpha order, that we think will battle for men's podium spots next Saturday:

 

- BROOKS GROSSINGER - Three-tme T-Man champ, Brooks owns half of the six fastest times on this course, including his CR - 1:54:24. He did not have his best day here in 2017, yet still placed 2nd, with a Masters record to show for it. Yes, he could collect his 4th T-Man Olympic W on Saturday.

 

- DAVID LEWIS  - In the last three years, Dave has placed 5th, 7th and 3rd here. We predict a 3rd or a 4th for him this time around.

 

SCOTT MYERS - Scott and David appear to be evenly matched. Scott may have a slight advantage over Lewis this weekend because he has three performances under his belt in 2018, whereas David has yet to race.

 

JORDAN ROBY - Winner here in 2017, Jordan can be counted on to post a sub-2-hour clocking this weekend. That could be enough for a return to the Winners Circle, but maybe not. The Brooks / Jordan battle should be epic....

Timberman Sprint - Preview...

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TIMBERMAN SPRINT PREVIEW - We're counting the days until we make our annual trek to Sugar Lake for the Timberman, which will celebrate it's 34th anniversary on July 14. 

Timberman is Minnesota's premier destination triathlon, contested at one of the most picturesque resorts in the Midwest. From the standpoint of physical beauty, it rivals any tri venue in the country.

Timberman also has an awesome bar and grill with a wonderful deck that overlooks its transition area, which is perfect for post race celebrations. How cool is that!

As we said, we can't wait to, as Tina Fey would say, "go to there."

We plan to post two previews, starting with today's words about T-Man's Sprint race. For grins, let's make some predictions....

Perham Records in Jeopardy....

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15th PERHAM TRIATHLON - Known as the Average Jo Triathlon for it's first fourteen editions, this event has been renamed for its host community. It is now the Perham Tri.

If you've never been to Perham, we suggest you check it out. It is a very pleasant town with a population of about 3500.

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